Michael Waltrip Racing has been penalized by NASCAR for Clint Bowyer’s intentional spin during the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR.com is reporting.
ESPN has also reported the news in its ticker during Monday Night Football.
Ryan Newman will replace Martin Truex Jr in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, as a result of the penalty.
MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR rule book.
All three MWR teams — the Nos. 15, 55, and 56 — were penalized with the loss of 50 driver’s points and 50 owner’s points.
The points deductions were applied after the race but before the seeding for the Chase, which means that Truex Jr drops to 17th in points, eliminating him from contention for the Wild Card berth. Thus, elevating Newman to the second Wild Card berth.
NASCAR also fined the MWR organization $300,000. MWR General Manager Ty Norris has been indefinitely suspended for violating Section 12-4.
The three crew chiefs — Brian Pattie (No. 15), Scott Miller (No. 55) and Chad Johnston (No. 56) — have all been placed on NASCAR probation until the end of the calendar year.
NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton said:
Based upon our review of Saturday night’s race at Richmond, it is our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race. As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that.
With seven laps to go at Richmond, Clint Bowyer’s spotter came on the radio and told him that Newman was going to win the race. Then, Brian Pattie came on the radio asking if Bowyer’s arms hurt or it was hot in the car.
Bowyer then spun, bringing out the caution that ultimately ended up putting Truex into the Chase and keeping Newman out.
NASCAR, however, seems to have rectified that.
Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart Haas Racing, said:
Obviously, we’re very pleased with NASCAR’s decision to provide Ryan Newman’s rightful place in this year’s Chase. NASCAR was put in a very difficult position Saturday night at Richmond and we commend the sanctioning body for taking the time to do the necessary due diligence to ensure that the right call was made.
Ryan Newman added:
I am proud that NASCAR took a stand with respect to what went on Saturday night at Richmond. I know it was a tough decision to make. With that being said, myself, Matt Borland (crew chief) and this entire No. 39 team are looking forward to competing for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship
Update: Michael Waltrip Racing issued a statement regarding the penalties. It said:
What occurred on the No. 55 radio at the end of Saturday night’s race in Richmond was a split-second decision made by team spotter Ty Norris to bring the No. 55 to pit lane and help a teammate earn a place in the Chase. We regret the decision and its impact. We apologize to NASCAR, our fellow competitors, partners and fans who were disappointed in our actions. We will learn from this and move on. As general manager, Ty Norris has been an integral part of Michael Waltrip Racing since its founding and has my and (co-owner) Rob Kauffman’s full support.
Update 2: Clint Bower has commented on the penalty in an interview with ESPN. He said:
I’ve dealt with a lot of opinions and a lot of things that happened. I gave my interview after the race as to what happened. We’ve been penalized with the biggest penalty in NASCAR history and we’re going to get through this as a race team.